Children struggling with anxiety are a real challenge for their parents to recognize and deal with their condition effectively. Because, as you would assume, the biggest issue is that these kids don’t possess the aptitude to verbalize their thoughts and express themselves fully and correctly. They can’t say, “I don’t want to go play out with the other kids because I feel anxious.”
Moreover, a 2018 report on Children’s Mental Health found that “at some point, anxiety affects 30% of children and adolescents, yet 80% never get help. Untreated anxiety disorders are linked to depression, school failure and a two-fold increase in risk for substance use disorder,” the report reads.
Luckily, there is some useful information that parents could use to recognize anxiety in their kids easier and early on. However, before reading on, please bear in mind that you need to first checkup with your doctor just to eliminate any other possible medical problems or issues.
Headaches – Children often say, “my head is hurting,” rather than saying “I have a headache.”
Stomach aches – They are a very typical complaint of children with anxiety. These children feel the tingling nervous feeling in their tummy, just like we all have from time to time, and it makes them feel bad. Since they can’t identify well the feeling, it’s easier for them to just say “my stomach hurts” because in essence – it does.
Muscle aches – They could say something along the lines of, “My body hurts” or “My legs hurt.”
Angry outbursts – Anger is one of the emotions that is the easiest to express for children. Whenever a child is feeling anxious or something is troubling them, they usually burst out into anger. That’s because their feelings are too intense, and they don’t know how to express them in a different way. And if you ask them why they are angry, they would probably don’t know. They just are.
Avoidance – Whenever children feel anxious about something, their defense mechanism tells them to avoid the situation altogether. That’s why when a child is scared of a certain dog, for example, they will do anything to avoid the place where the dog is located just to avoid getting scared and anxious.
Shyness – Children who tend to hide behind their parents’ back, staring at the ground, or just bowing their heads without saying a word anytime they are around strangers can be something that parents need to be aware of. The report finds that children who experience distress and anxiety are dismissed as being shy and unsocial and everyone expects that they would “grow out of it.”
Obstinance – When a child is categorically refusing to obey you and do what you’ve asked them to, then anxiety could be the trigger of their stubbornness. It’s like they are saying, “No, I will not the shoes on because I don’t want to go to kindergarten. I don’t like it there. I feel nervous there.”
Luckily, anxiety is a condition which can be treated.
If you notice that your kid has symptoms of anxiety, the first thing you should do is have a talk with your children’s pediatrician about what your next steps should be.
Finally, please note that you are an amazing parent for taking the initiative and wanting to understand the feelings of your child better.
Is your child dealing with anxiety? What you do to help them? Please share your experience and ideas here. Someone may find it helpful.
Spread the love and awareness.